The Hardest Thing
One of the hardest thing about telling people our story has been having to explain the actual process of a miscarriage. Asides from our final outcome of losing the baby, our four experiences have been extremely unique and nothing has been the same between each one. What I’ve learned is like many things in life, unless you’ve been through it you have no idea how a miscarriage actually physically occurs. Almost everyone we’ve encountered simply assumes that when you miscarry you find out once the baby is dead, often because you start bleeding and then you go through the miscarriage right away. This happened to us the first time, but not the next three times. For us, the actual miscarriage process is anything but quick.
Typically we start by finding out that the baby will die through an ultrasound and then we wait for the inevitable death. Medically, certain criteria must be met before they will declare a fetal demise (a nice word for dead baby), and this can take time. It seems that this is quite a sensitive topic due to the ethics surrounding end of pregnancy choices, and the doctors have very strict guidelines. Sometimes the wait is only a few days, but in our case, it takes a few weeks or more.
With the second miscarriage, and our first time this happened, we held onto to the hope. There was a weakening fetal heart rate, so we thought maybe there would be a miracle and the fetal heart rate would return to normal. One doctor said he’s saw this happen once in his career – maybe we’ll be the second time it happens? Or maybe, they just got it wrong on the first ultrasound, and everything would be fine on the next one. It turned out, with each subsequent ultrasound, the heart rate continued to drop until the inevitable death. Then, it still took weeks to force the miscarriage through medication, and we ended up having an emergency D&C.
With the third miscarriage, the wait was excruciating. It took weeks. Our baby simply wouldn’t die. This lead to the scariest/saddest hope I’ve ever had – hope that my baby dies quickly. First and foremost this hope is based on not wanting my baby to suffer. Secondly, and 100% selfishly, this hope is because I know the emotional hell I go through waiting for it to die. One second I am hoping that everything will miraculously be okay, then the next second I’m hoping for a quick death for our baby. I think I will always feel terribly guilty for thinking this way – how can I ever hope my baby will die quickly? It just isn’t right, but I guess nothing about this situation is.
By the time we were going through our fourth miscarriage, the thing I was most grateful for was that there was not a fetal heart rate when we found out. We truly didn’t expect this, as this baby had a healthy fetal heart rate from the very beginning (the first time we ever got to see a healthy fetal heart rate flicker on an ultrasound) and we had absolutely no negative symptoms. But it is what it is and we cannot change it. So, my first thought was, at least there is no hope this time and we can start the physical miscarriage process right away. We were wrong…even without a fetal heart rate they made us wait another 5 days to confirm that it was in fact a fetal demise. And now, nearly 4 weeks later, we are still working through the physical miscarriage and it is yet to be declared a complete miscarriage.
Knowing as a mother, that the baby that you are growing inside you will slowly die, has nearly killed me. It has nearly killed me each time, and it doesn’t get easier the more times you go through it. Nothing in life teaches you how to be prepared for this and how to handle this.
As hard as it is to believe, the one thing I’ve learned through losing four babies is that somehow you do get through it. Somehow you survive. Somehow there is a tomorrow. Somehow you contemplate trying again. Somehow you find hope again.